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One in Four American Adults Are Family Caregivers, Study Reports

Update Date: Jun 20, 2013 09:34 AM EDT
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As the number of people turning aged 65 and older increases, more seniors need to be taken care of. From getting to a doctor's appointment to dealing with bills, younger adults are starting to take over these duties. The trend of supporting the elderly has grown as a new survey discovered that more and more American adults are becoming family caregivers. According to this new survey, the majority of these caregivers reported to be taking care of an in-law.  The study conducted by the Pew Research Center and the California HealthCare Foundation calculated that from 2000 to 2012, the rate of family caregivers jumped from 30 percent to 39 percent.

The Pew study also found that more and more people stated that they would care for an elderly parent or an in law at some point in their life. The researchers identified several of the duties and responsibilities that these caregivers are taking, which include administering medications and transportation. Since many of these tasks involve medications, the Pew study found that a lot of caregivers are turning to the Internet to find answers. The study found that over 70 percent of caregivers learn about different illnesses and treatments through the Internet.

"Caregivers vividly illustrate a primary truth about the social impact of the Internet: It enables people to quickly gather information on a complex topic in order to make better decisions," the lead study's author, Susannah Fox said according to USA Today.

Although people could be quick to assume that the rise in caregivers is due to the rise in the elderly population, the CEO of the Caregiver Action Network, John Schall stated that there are more factors at play. Fox sites two main reasons as to why caregivers are on the rise. First, more seniors have developed chronic medical illnesses that require complex medical care. Oftentimes, seniors cannot track their medications and doctor appointments efficiently. Second, people have been struggling financially due to the economy, which makes living together and skipping the senior health care centers less expensive.

The researchers believe that the role of being a caregiver is not going anywhere any time soon.

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